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Donald McCaig

"Working Lines"

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Dear Doggers,

Like "Defense Department" this expression is argumentative and intended to mislead. "Working lines" presumes other "lines", invariably, as it turns out, "show lines" within a single dog "breed" . Indeed, it often appears that the “working lines” are a less desirable variant of the championship “show lines”.

Border Collie defenders, by contrast, have traditionally argued that our breed is defined not by similar morphology nor remote common ancestry but by ability to work livestock: hence there are no “lines”.

This definition of "breed" is historically prior. At one time the "Golden Retriever breed was a subset of retrievers and the "Old English Sheepdog" was one of many sheepdogs.

While the Dog Fancier’s abbreviations of “Golden” for “Golden Retriever” and “Border”for Border Collie trivializes the dogs so named it also suggests that the breed’s original function is merely of historical interest.

The Dog Fancy preferred to speak about "lines" because it allowed them to ignore the unpleasant fact that by breeding for a different purpose, the dog show, they had destroyed - not "refined" the breed.

Thus, those dogs unable to work sheep are not different "lines", they aren't Border Collies at all; call them Barbie Collies if this dog show breed must have a name.

Donald McCaig

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So why can't we fight them for the name? The JRTCA did this, right? Now we have the Jack Russel Terrier & the Parson Russel Terrier. I presume they will diverge more & more over the years & will be nothing alike.

I guess Barbie Collie is out for the new name....I'd love to hear the name that AKC would come up with. You know it would allude to the "working" heritage.

How about:
UK Working Collie?
Border Sheepdog?


I guess I'm gonna have to buy myself a copy of [color="#FF0000"]Dog Wars[/color] for Christmas- this is probably discussed there.

Can I get a signed copy??? :D

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[quote name='Donald McCaig' timestamp='1288441396' post='372360']
Dear Doggers,

Like "Defense Department" this expression is argumentative and intended to mislead. "Working lines" presumes other "lines"
[/quote]

I'd always read it differently.

"Working Lines" to me indicates that the seller/breeder is trying to hide the fact that the dog, or parents of the pups, they are selling don't actually work stock but that somewhere back in the mists of time, they had ancestors who did work stock. Once upon a time, all "Borders" were derived from working dogs, but fairy tale land is where a lot of these breeders are residing.

"Working lines" is like "chocolatey goodness" on Hallow'een candy. It might be candy but it sure as hell ain't real chocolate.

Pearse

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Pearse and Donald, I think you're both right. "Working lines" in KC/dog fancy circles is used the way Donald describes. There's the Breed, and then there's the deviant fragment of the breed called "working lines." When somebody in the border collie world uses "working lines," it's mostly used the way Pearse describes. "My border collies come from working lines" means they don't work, but somewhere in the past (which of course could be said of any border collie) they had forebears who worked.

[quote name='MyTDogs' timestamp='1288444764' post='372362']
So why can't we fight them for the name? The JRTCA did this, right? Now we have the Jack Russel Terrier & the Parson Russel Terrier. I presume they will diverge more & more over the years & will be nothing alike.[/quote]

Unfortunately, and contrary to popular belief, the Jack Russell name change didn't come about through pressure from the working JRT people. Here's a brief history of the Jack Russell Terrier vs. AKC experience, first posted here quite a while ago:

Like the border collie, the Jack Russell Terrier was recognized by the AKC against the wishes of most JRT breeders and owners. This occurred in 1997. The JRTCA, the Jack Russell registry, had the same concerns as we do about deterioration of their breed's working ability as a result of AKC registration, and moved aggressively to protect their dogs by invoking what's called their "conflicting organization rule." Under that rule, no one could join or continue as a member of the JRTCA who registered their JRT with the AKC. That meant that they could no longer register dogs with the JRTCA, and could not compete in or judge JRTCA trials. Dual registration was not allowed.

A lawsuit was filed against the JRTCA by one of its affiliate clubs, which did not wish to enforce the conflicting organization rule, and by a couple of JRT breeders who dual registered and whose JRTCA membership was cancelled because they registered with the AKC. Several of the plaintiffs' claims were thrown out before trial as being clearly without legal merit. The case went to trial on the remaining claims, and the judge ruled in favor of the JRTCA. The Court held that there was no legal basis for requiring the JRTCA to change its policy, and that it was free to continue enforcing its conflicting organization rule with respect to its members and activities under its auspices.

The name change of the AKC breed from Jack Russell Terrier to Parson Russell Terrier had no connection with the lawsuit. The change was proposed by the AKC parent club (then called the JRTAA, and now called the PRTAA), so that the name would be consistent with the British Kennel Club, which had come to use the name Parson Russell Terrier. Some of the other overseas Kennel Clubs (e.g. Australia, Ireland) recognize two sizes of the dogs, terming the smaller one "Jack Russell Terrier" and the taller one "Parson Russell Terrier." The breed standard of the AKC JRT specifies the taller size, so there too the name change contributed to international consistency. The AKC went along with the parent club's request. The JRTCA was delighted to see it happen, but didn't make it happen. So unfortunately this does not give rise to any hope that we could get AKC to change the name of their border collies, since neither AKC nor the BCSA wants to do so.

The short answer to why we can't fight AKC for the name is that there is no "we" who has legally-recognized ownership rights to the name. It has been used too long and too widely by too many individuals and groups. There may have been a time when the US border collie registries could have asserted and proven ownership rights to the name, but any such possibility is in the past.

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[quote name='Eileen Stein' timestamp='1288456589' post='372371']
Pearse and Donald, I think you're both right. "Working lines" in KC/dog fancy circles is used the way Donald describes. There's the Breed, and then there's the deviant fragment of the breed called "working lines." When somebody in the border collie world uses "working lines," it's mostly used the way Pearse describes. "My border collies come from working lines" means they don't work, but somewhere in the past (which of course could be said of any border collie) they had forebears who worked.
[...]
The short answer to why we can't fight AKC for the name is that there is no "we" who has legally-recognized ownership rights to the name. It has been used too long and too widely by too many individuals and groups. There may have been a time when the US border collie registries could have asserted and proven ownership rights to the name, but any such possibility is in the past.
[/quote]

Thank you for this and the JRT info.

What do you say if a stranger out in public sees your dog away from stock (for eg, in the waiting room at the vet) and says, "What kind of dog is that?" Are you more inclined to say "border collie" or "sheepdog" or something else?

Barbara

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[quote name='topnotchdog' timestamp='1288563906' post='372452']
Thank you for this and the JRT info.

What do you say if a stranger out in public sees your dog away from stock (for eg, in the waiting room at the vet) and says, "What kind of dog is that?" Are you more inclined to say "border collie" or "sheepdog" or something else?

Barbara
[/quote]


I say "working Border Collie"

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Like Carolyn, I say, "working border collie." This elicits a very confused look, so I always add, "they work cattle and sheep."
A

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[quote name='topnotchdog' timestamp='1288563906' post='372452']
Thank you for this and the JRT info.

What do you say if a stranger out in public sees your dog away from stock (for eg, in the waiting room at the vet) and says, "What kind of dog is that?" Are you more inclined to say "border collie" or "sheepdog" or something else?

Barbara
[/quote]

Personally, as somebody who has heard all sorts of guesstimates from strangers on Mick's breed, I'll say he's a Border Collie. Which will invariably, lead to "Is he a mix?" or "But he doesn't look like one." Then, I'll tell them he's a working bred Border Collie, and that he was bred to work, not to look big and fluffy like a show-bred one.

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I always say it's a working bred border collie (unless of course it's one that's not, and then I just call it a border collie). If the person shows interest, I explain that I raise sheep and use my dogs to help manage them.

J.

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[quote name='C Crocker' timestamp='1288564198' post='372453']
I say "working Border Collie"
[/quote]
I do, too, usually followed by "We have cattle" or "They work cattle on our farm" or some such.

Somedays, I just want to say, "Sheepdog", and leave it at that.

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Hello everyone,

When someone asks what breed of dog mine are, I say that they are "working Border Collies", with the emphasis on "working". But, like Sue, unless asked about the breed specifically, I tell people that they are working sheepdogs.

Regards,
nancy

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[quote name='Pearse' timestamp='1288454867' post='372369']
I'd always read it differently.

"Working Lines" to me indicates that the seller/breeder is trying to hide the fact that the dog, or parents of the pups, they are selling don't actually work stock but that somewhere back in the mists of time, they had ancestors who did work stock. Once upon a time, all "Borders" were derived from working dogs, but fairy tale land is where a lot of these breeders are residing.

"Working lines" is like "chocolatey goodness" on Hallow'een candy. It might be candy but it sure as hell ain't real chocolate.

Pearse
[/quote]

I agree very much with this..it, IMO, is a play on words to entice people into some false hope of what the dog truly is/will be.

I always ID my dogs are working BC's..I am glad to see Im not the only one who does..if the person asks, I will be more then happy to explain that they actually work and help me on our ranch.

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Probably my mistake then, but I always assumed that a pup from "working lines" should at the very least have parents (both) that are actual working dogs.
In other words the "working line" should be attached to the pup, not end somewhere in its ancestry.
Otherwise would every border collie be from working lines...

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Smalahundur,
Here in the US it's not unusual for some breeders (who shall remain nameless as their names are taken in vain in this forum often enough anyway) who tout the National and International Supreme champions in their bloodlines. It doesn't matter that those dogs are many generations back and that the dogs being bred have one job only: to produce puppies--they will still advertise those great working lines. And they are by no means the only sorts of breeders who are doing that.

It may be different in other parts of the world. Here, folks realized that claiming their dogs were from working lines was a great marketing tool that implies that the dogs they breed will be working dogs when in fact all it really means is that there are some real working dogs back there, somewhere.

J.

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In Poland is similar to what Smalahundur says, but to use the word "line" you'd need [i]at least[/i] two generations: parents and grandparents. E.g. I can say that Bonnie is from working parents (although some people would argue that I don't have a certificate to prove it), I can say Bonnie is a working dog (although again people might say that I am just using a marketing ploy because I do not have a certificate), but I'd [i]never [/i]say she is from a working [i]line[/i]. First of course it's patently not true, but should I utter such words during some spell if sheer insanity I would be instantly socially excommunicated/executed by other breeders.

because it refers to the ancestry, "working lines", would also be in the case where someone buys a dog from ISDS but trains the dog in agility, they'd say their dog is from working lines. It wouldn't necessarily mean anything other than that's where the dog comes from.

Maja

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maja, in that case most people here use "working BRED" not working line.

online is really the only place I have to identify my dogs by how they were bred(Misty working, Happy sport) IRL most people dont ask what breed my BCs are, they say "nice sheepdogs, do they work stock?" lol

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[quote name='somewhereinusa' timestamp='1288627147' post='372513']
I usually reply that mine are "real" Border Collies, with an explanation.
[/quote]

This reminded of me a day I was walking through an AKC "Meet the Breeds" with my BC. One of the handlers shouted out to me "Hey look, this is a real Collie" and pointed to his giant fluffy barbied Collies. I didn't respond then and, two years later, still have no idea what the right course of action would have been (aside from rolling my eyes and walking away). Does the "Your dog hasn't ever even tasted sheep poo," argument typically work on the AKC enslaved?

As far as the term "working line"- it makes me thing of the breeders who use "championship lines" to advertise their breeding stock. For a good example, one can check their local Kijiji listings. The number of people who claim to own "championship" dogs is staggering. I often wonder exactly what they think their dog's parents were champions of.

Halfway through "The Dog Wars" and loving it!

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[quote name='Christina' timestamp='1288665413' post='372585']
One of the handlers shouted out to me "Hey look, this is a real Collie" and pointed to his giant fluffy barbied Collies. I didn't respond then and, two years later, still have no idea what the right course of action would have been
[/quote]
Well I would say the right response would be laughing, very hard, and maybe after you picked yourself of the floor an off hand "[i]those[/i]? those are hardly real [i]dogs[/i]"....

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[quote name='Christina' timestamp='1288665413' post='372585']
This reminded of me a day I was walking through an AKC "Meet the Breeds" with my BC. One of the handlers shouted out to me "Hey look, this is a real Collie" and pointed to his giant fluffy barbied Collies. [/quote]

I think my response would be, "Well it sure as heck ain't a sheep dog."

I don't tend to get bent out of shape about the naming conventions or educating the unwilling. But for whatever reason, early in my awareness of working stock dogs -- long before I ever dreamed of ever actually owning a Border Collie for my very own -- I learned to refer to the competent working dogs as "sheep dogs" and the habit has stayed with me.

Saying "s/he's a sheep dog" does often have this side effect: most people who go as far as asking, "What kind of dog is that?" are at least aware of the stereotypical Olde Englishe Sheepedogge, and they know darned well that's NOT what they're looking at. So it leads them to ask the next question -- if they're actually interested in learning something.

Liz S in South Central PA

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[quote name='Christina' timestamp='1288665413' post='372585']
This reminded of me a day I was walking through an AKC "Meet the Breeds" with my BC. One of the handlers shouted out to me "Hey look, this is a real Collie" and pointed to his giant fluffy barbied Collies. I didn't respond then and, two years later, still have no idea what the right course of action would have been (aside from rolling my eyes and walking away). Does the "Your dog hasn't ever even tasted sheep poo," argument typically work on the AKC enslaved?
[/quote]

I got kicked out of the "Meet the Breeds" venue at a big show cluster here because I guess my dogs and I offended the barbie collies. One of the handlers --- long time ACD breeder with her first OZ barbie collie, called my dogs "crippled pieces of crap". My "crippled pieces of crap" would and could wipe their feet on the feeble attempts to "work" that her dog attempted. Nothing against the dog --- ever, but some of these breed dog handlers need a sock shoved in their mouths.

PS. My "crippled pieces of crap" and I got our revenge at a clinic with a mini trial at which she showed up with her Ch. Oz collie, saw what the raggle taggle group of border collies there could actually do, and gracefully exited. Hope she learned a lesson of some sort there.

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[quote name='Christina' timestamp='1288665413' post='372585']
This reminded of me a day I was walking through an AKC "Meet the Breeds" with my BC. One of the handlers shouted out to me "Hey look, this is a real Collie" and pointed to his giant fluffy barbied Collies. I didn't respond then and, two years later, still have no idea what the right course of action would have been (aside from rolling my eyes and walking away).
[/quote]

If I had such a rude remark leveled at me I would probably respond in one of two ways.

If I was in a good mood I'd probably say, "Yeah, [i]real[/i] fluffy."

If I was in a bad mood I'd probably say, "Well, at least he's [i]polite[/i], which is more than I can say for his owner."

Either way, I'd keep walking.

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[quote name='Christina' timestamp='1288665413' post='372585']
This reminded of me a day I was walking through an AKC "Meet the Breeds" with my BC. One of the handlers shouted out to me "Hey look, this is a real Collie" and pointed to his giant fluffy barbied Collies. I didn't respond then and, two years later, still have no idea what the right course of action would have been (aside from rolling my eyes and walking away). Does the "Your dog hasn't ever even tasted sheep poo," argument typically work on the AKC enslaved?

As far as the term "working line"- it makes me thing of the breeders who use "championship lines" to advertise their breeding stock. For a good example, one can check their local Kijiji listings. The number of people who claim to own "championship" dogs is staggering. I often wonder exactly what they think their dog's parents were champions of.

Halfway through "The Dog Wars" and loving it!
[/quote]

Reminds me of my former neighbor. She asked what kind of dog Mick was, and I said Border Collie. She snottily replied, "he doesn't look like any Border Collie I'VE ever seen." I told her that he was working bred, not an AKC Border Collie.

BTW, she breeds and shows Shiba Inus. Her dogs go to Westminster. I'm sure she's only been around the fluffy sort.

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I'm not really fantastic with witty comebacks, so stuttering and walking away while thinking "Gee, what a jerk," was about the best I could do. I went back this year (they hold one yearly at the Pet Expo here in CT) and walked through the area sectioned off for barbie breeds. I was happy to not see any BCs, but there were a few Spaniels and a Setter that had me shaking my head. All pretty and primped, obviously none of them have ever even seen a field, nevermind game.

[quote name='sea4th' timestamp='1288729914' post='372635']
PS. My "crippled pieces of crap" and I got our revenge at a clinic with a mini trial at which she showed up with her Ch. Oz collie, saw what the raggle taggle group of border collies there could actually do, and gracefully exited. Hope she learned a lesson of some sort there.
[/quote]

It's those moments (among others) that make it all worthwhile. I wonder if she actually did take anything away from the experience, of if she justified what she was doing to herself, as most people tend to do.

Going back to the OP, I walked by a guy today while hiking with my dogs. He saw them and exclaimed "Oh, sheepdogs!". I noticed he was an older gentleman, and realized that, where I live, the term "sheepdog" is typically used by very specific groups of people and very rarely are any of them women. Of course, that isn't to say anything about anyone here. But there must be some relationship between the term used to name a dog, and the age/gender/upbringing of the person who is referencing said dog.

I, for example, am a young female, brought up in rural southern Florida and eventually made my way up north to Connecticut. My experience with dogs was limited to AKC breeds, and AKC registration. I wasn't aware of other registries until I started doing some more reading on the subject. Given what I thought I knew about dogs from the beginning, I have always called different breeds by their AKC registered name. "Border Collie" rather than "sheepdog". Looking back on it now, I do believe "sheepdog" makes more sense, especially since the goal is to breed for working ability. A good working breeder is not breeding to produce Border Collies- s/he is breeding to produce sheepdogs.

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I think the whole "working lines" thing is an attempt to just try to validate a breeding, and rake in more money. It's right up there with "championship bloodlines". It is, IMO, an admission of guilt and greed, and the general public doesn't know any better. It's really too bad.

On the other topic... I've had people try to argue with me that my dogs couldn't possibly be border collies. :lol:

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